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Right to NHS treatment 18 weeks (fertility clinic)

Apologies if this is in the wrong section.

I was referred to the fertility clinic early December and had my first consultation last week where we were basically told that it was a waste of time as the GP should have requested blood tests before referring and I will now have to wait until June until we can go back for treatment. I will have had my blood tests done by the end of April but my DH SA appointment is in May (which is still 20 weeks after!) That will make it 26 weeks from referral until treatment simply due to the GP not ordering bloods (I even asked him if I needed them doing as I have a few friends who have recently had fertility treatment and he said no).

Does anyone know where I stand here? The only advice I've been given is that I can make a complaint but as it is my right as an NHS patient to be treated within 18 weeks and the fact that the reason I won't be is due to the GP's error and combined with the upset and unnecessary stress, I don't think a complaint quite cuts it. Shouldn't they be making arrangements for my DH appointment to be earlier (even if it has to be private) or bringing forward our next appointment rather than waiting until June?


  • tensandunits_2
    Shouldn't they be making arrangements for my DH appointment to be earlier (even if it has to be private) or bringing forward our next appointment rather than waiting until June?

    If you go private you could get an appointment much more quickly.
    It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture
    It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult

  • gettingtheresometime
    I think the OP meant that the blood tests are done privately but paid for by the NHS.

    Call me cynical but I've always thought this treatment within 18 weeks is a red herring - I'm sure many trusts take your first appointment with the consultant as treatment so I wouldn't be surprised if they say you've had your first appointment even if it was a waste of time.

    As to whether you want to take it further I suppose it depends on how much energy you want to spend on fighting to get an earlier appointment. Personally, as IVF is an emotional rollercoaster on a good day anyway, it might be an idea to let the GP muck up drop
  • tensandunits_2
    I think the OP meant that the blood tests are done privately but paid for by the NHS.

    Why would the NHS pay for private blood tests? Dealing with the NHS is a stress-inducing nightmare at the best of times, but that's what you get if you want free (or paid for by the state) treatment.
    It is not because things are difficult that we dare not venture
    It is because we dare not venture that they are difficult

  • emmatthews
    emmatthews Posts: 678 Forumite
    I understand why you're frustrated and disappointed, but your appointment is going to be 8 weeks outside of the 18 weeks. In the grand scheme of fertility and possibly IVF this is not a huge amount of time.

    In your shoes I would probably ask if they could call me if there were any cancellations prior to your rescheduled appointment. Your Doctor made a mistake, I'm sure it wasn't deliberate.
  • LilElvis
    LilElvis Posts: 5,835 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Ask your doctor if there is any chance of an earlier appointment for your husband, though I can't see that he even needs one. My husband was given a sample pot and just had to make sure that he took it to the hospital within a certain timeframe from the time it was "produced" so that it would be viable.

    Even when you do go back to the hospital you won't be starting treatment it will be the start of investigations. It might be worth checking whether your CCG will even fund IVF treatment, and whether you are eligible, if that is what you ultimately need, so that you can be prepared. Also worth checking other criteria as most CCGs will not treat a couple if either smoke or has a bmi greater than 30 - things that can be addressed now to minimise any delay to treatment further down the line.
  • hidden_sacrifice
    Thanks for your responses. With regards to the private tests - the NHS policy states that where treatment cannot be given within 18 weeks, they have an obligation to let you know and if possible, use private resources to try and keep within the time frame.

    With regards to waiting time and further investigations - I have been diagnosed with PCOS and the consultant says as long as the SA comes back as normal, I'll be able to start either clomid or metformin (no IVF yet). They just need the blood tests to confirm whether or not my progesterone is low or if I'm insulin resistant. So in my eyes, the quicker they analyse DH sample (which has to be done in May at the moment as they send an appointment and you can't produce and hand it in earlier) and if they can bring forward our consultation, the quicker I can start treatment. I already waited for nearly a year for a diagnosis and finally thought I could start getting excited about TTC which is why I was so gutted that one mistake by the doctors has cost me another 3 months in limbo (because I don't ovulate so can't TTC in between).
  • gettingtheresometime
    I can understand why it's frustrating for you but I think Emmatthews as well as LilElvis' advice is spot on, and I'd pay particular attention to do you or your partner smoke and if either of you are overweight as I know some health authorities set a bmi limit.

    easier said than done I know but try not to get worked up about this as getting stressed won't help the process
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    The problem with blood tests in relation to fertility is that they need to be taken a specific time in the cycle, hence why it can push the timescales.

    You are right though, your GP should have ordered these before referring you, so it is his error but I'm not sure complaining will get you anything else than an apology. As already suggested though, you could ask to be contacted if there's a cancellation, it happens quite often. You could also ask the consultant via his secretary if they would agree to prescribe clomid before the result of the SA. They might agree and then call you back if there are issues with the result.

    Whether they do or not might depend on your age. When you are desperate to TTC, one month waiting feels like a year, but in the scale of things, it won't make much of a difference so don't get stressed over it.
  • Flugelhorn
    Flugelhorn Posts: 5,731 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Re blood tests - depends what the local agreement is - some places won't even accept the referral unless the blood tests have been done so you wouldn't have got an appointment.
    Other places they are all arranged by the hospital.
    I think you may find that the "18 week clock" at the first appointment in this field simply because much of it can't be done in that time frame - sometimes there need to be other investigations / targetted weight loss / further funding requests etc etc
  • cyantist
    cyantist Posts: 560 Forumite
    I'm not sure how the 18 weeks fits for fertility treatment. Our CCG website specifies that the 18 weeks is from first attending clinic to actually getting treatment. So they may class the 18 weeks as starting from your recent consultant appointment. I don't see any way that from GP referral to actual treatment would be regularly achieved within 18 weeks.
    Unfortunately with fertility treatment there seems to be delays quite often, and in the grand scheme of things 3 months is not a lot.
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